You may not be going meatless on Christmas Eve, but if you are this hearty recipe would be great for a crowd (obviously increase the ingredient amounts accordingly). Keep this Spinach and Chickpea Paella recipe in your back pocket for unexpected dinner guests during the holidays and you will rule your holiday roost! Bon appetit and Merry Christmas! HoHoHo:)
Spinach and Chickpea Paella
- 1 cup homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth
- Kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
- 1 large or 2 small shallot lobes, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup uncooked Arborio, Bomba or other short-grain rice
- 1 cup (about 2 ounces) packed baby spinach leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained (or if canned, use no-salt-added, drained and rinsed)
- 2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the broth and salt to taste in a small saucepan over medium heat until barely bubbling at the edges; reduce the heat to very low and cover. (Or mix the broth and salt in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup, microwave on HIGH until boiling, about 1 minute, and cover to keep hot.)
Sprinkle the pine nuts into a small (8-inch) cast-iron or other heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently to toss the pine nuts, until they are brown and fragrant, a few minutes. Immediately transfer them to a small plate so they don’t continue cooking and burn.
Return the skillet to medium heat and pour in the oil. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, sprinkle in the curry powder and let it sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the shallot and garlic and saute until tender, a few minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until the rice grains are well coated. Add the spinach and chickpeas and cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, a minute or two.
Pour in the hot broth and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is gently bubbling. Taste the liquid and add salt as needed, then cook, swirling the pan occasionally to keep the rice hydrated, until the rice has swelled and absorbed much but not all of the liquid (it should be slightly soupy), 8 to 10 minutes.
Scatter the red pepper strips on top of the paella. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the rice is al dente, or mostly tender but with a little resistance at the center of the grain, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Uncover and return it to the stovetop over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes, to brown and crisp the bottom. Scatter the toasted pine nuts on top.
Spoon the paella out onto a plate, or eat it from the pan.
Most kids begin their Winter Break today and what better way to celebrate than with a hot cup of homemade cocoa? An Italian delight of espresso poured over ice cream takes a kid friendly turn with Hot-Cocoa Affogato with Peppermint Ice Cream! You can, of course, use any ice cream you wish and feel free to add a shot of rum, Kahlua or perhaps Bailey’s for an adult version! Cheers and Happy Happy!
Hot-Cocoa Affogato with Peppermint Ice Cream
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 large pinch of kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), chopped
1/3 cup (loosely packed) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso or dark-roast coffee beans
2 pints peppermint or mint chip ice cream
8 small candy canes (optional)
Combine milk, 1/2 cup cream, sugar, salt, and 1/4 cup water in a large heavy saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add chocolate and cocoa powder; whisk until chocolate melts and mixture just comes to a boil. DO AHEAD: Cocoa can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to a simmer before continuing.
Whisk remaining 1/2 cup cream and ground coffee in a small bowl until firm peaks form. DO AHEAD: Whipped cream can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Rewhisk if needed before using.
Remove vanilla bean from hot cocoa; discard. Transfer cocoa to a blender and purée until thick and foamy, about 2 minutes.
Scoop ice cream into teacups; pour hot cocoa into cups, dividing evenly. Top each with a small dollop of coffee whipped cream. Garnish with a small candy cane, if desired.